Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Shepard also known as Chef Ashley Shep.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to cook, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I started to get frustrated with it. At the time, I was newly married, working two jobs, coming home at 6 or 7 o’clock, and THEN still having to figure out what to make for dinner. This meant that we weren’t eating ‘til close to 8 or even 9 if I hadn’t already gone to the store. As a new wife, I definitely didn’t want to start off our marriage like this…especially with a diabetic husband. And to be honest, it was really exhausting on top of all the other things going on in life. So, that’s when I started getting more familiar with meal planning and prepping techniques to be able to get dinner done faster. As I started sharing more photos and tips on social media, folks started asking me if I’d cook for them. And the rest is history.
Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest challenge for me has honestly been myself getting in the way of myself. Since I don’t have a business degree and am not a “formally trained” chef, I dealt with a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome (feeling like I’m not qualified to do what I’m already doing). For the first year of business, I really did question if I was “good enough” or thought, “Do I have what it takes to be able to give other people advice?” One thing that helped me overcome these thoughts was a quote I heard at a business conference here in Atlanta. “You each have your own God-given gift. Your gift is someone else’s struggle. Why would you insult God by not sharing your gift to set someone else free?” (Amber L Wright, Communication Expert). I know that my contributions are valid and necessary. I take pride in being able to help busy moms spend more time with their families or even just reclaim a little bit of time for themselves. I can’t say I never doubt myself, but I refuse to let those thoughts stop me from my purpose…and helping others live out their purpose.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
There’s this myth floating around that meal prep is only for folks who weight train or work out a lot. You see these perfectly portioned out containers of food and then think that you’re somehow less than because you weren’t in the kitchen for hours doing the same thing. But honestly, anybody who wants to spend less time cookin’ and more time eatin’ can benefit from meal prepping. Of all people, moms probably have the least amount of time and the most stress about dinner. And since dinner happens every night, the stress doesn’t go away. So that’s why I focus on meal time solutions to help moms feed their family in 30 minutes or less. Moms want their kids to eat healthy, but don’t always have the time or mental/physical energy to figure out what to make. And honestly, they’re tired of the guilt that comes with feeding their kids boxed mac and cheese or rolling through the drive-thru for the third night a week.
For folks in the northeast Atlanta area, I offer my Family Style Meal Kits, which include affordable, quick, and healthy options that still taste great. Meals come fully chopped, sliced, and seasoned so they’re ready to be cooked in the oven, slow cooker, or on the stove in 30 minutes or less. Dinner is done in five steps or less. For folks who just need ideas or aren’t local, I have a variety of options including videos, eBooks, online programs, and meal plans. I also have a free private community on Facebook called the Food Fam with Chef Ashley Shep where we share recipes and tips to help simplify mealtime.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
All people need to eat regardless of their circumstances. There’s more options now than ever before to get food to you faster like all of the take out and delivery options. At the same time, I’m seeing a sense of urgency to return to home-cooked meals as folks are trying to save money to pay off debt or cushion themselves for the next recession. People are also becoming more health-conscious and looking for options that allow them to know where their food is coming from and to make healthier choices for themselves and their family. At the same time, they don’t have the time to make the food for themselves, so they look to people like me for solutions to bridge the gap between the two. I see more options developing for people to get dinner done faster regardless of their skill level.
- Meal Plans starting at $15
- Simplify Meal Time Program – $97
- Get Your Food Life Strategy Session $97
- Website: www.chefashleyshep.com
- Phone: 470-201-5918
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/chefashleyshep
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/chefashleyshep
- Other: www.facebook.com/groups/FoodFamwithChefAshleyShep
FLM Photography, Ty Myrick